Freezing and Starving

photo: bar cafe rue leon frot

During the Saturday noon pause, a quiet café in east Paris.

Apple's Tangerine Oyster

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 20. September 1999:- To you, the name 'Paris' may bring up images of starving artists in freezing garrets. For me, I have always been wary of garrets because of the stairs to be climbed, and because of the pigeons dancing on the metal roofs.

In this fall season, following an exceptionally warm summer's end, I am experiencing freezing and while I'm at it - with my teeth 'under construction' - starving too.

Until now it has been a lucky time. I can remember wearing winter coats inside in August - about five or six years ago, before I spent a lot of Augusts in Spain. Augusts in Spainphoto: techno dancing are sort of a double guarantee against low temperatures.

But September is always the same. No matter how damp and chilly it is, central heating is never turned on before the 15th of the month.

Total happiness near the start of Saturday's Techno Parade.

Many apartments are owned by their inhabitants and to manage collective affairs, there is a building syndicate whose members are the apartment owners. When enough of them get cold, they agree to turn on the furnace.

The trouble is, a lot of people don't think 10 degrees centigrade in the morning is cold. Maybe they were brought up in stone houses in Brittany and think 10 degrees is a relative heatwave - the kind of people who take their summer vacations at the North Pole.

On Friday I spoke to Mme le Gardien and she looked surprised when I said I thought it was cold. Actually I wasn't all that cold, standing in the courtyard after running around the block, having a cafe, and wearing a t-shirt, shirt, sweater and jacket. The courtyard was definitely warmer than inside.

Two other co-residents were there too, nodding in understanding when Mme le Gardien translated what Mr Mushmouth said. One thought somebody had to come by and purge the radiators first.

Actually first, the owner's syndicate has to decide to turn on the heat - then they have to get the radiators purged. So there is this crew of 'purgers' in Paris, and all the syndicates call them at once.

If my building's syndicate is still deciding whether it is cold 'enough' or not, these guys who do the thing to the radiators may not get around to doing my building until late Octoberphoto: cow in tree by john kelly or mid-November. Saving fuel costs for two months is attractive to some apartment owners. Heating charges are including in my rent and there is no reduction for no heat.

John Kelly's 'Cow Up a Tree' at the Champs de la Sculpture.

On top of this, one of the ladies in the courtyard said the ground-floor flats are coldest anyway. I wonder how she knows? This is a big worry for me, resulting from renting the place in summer - I don't even know if the radiators work or how much heat they may give off.

If I went out to work in an office, I could be pretty sure of being warm for part of the day. When I do go out to 'work,' so as long as I am underground in the métro getting there I can count on being pretty warm. I occasionally visit heated museums and shops too.

But once back in the ground-floor 'garret,' when I am putting an issue together, then I am sitting more or less in one place for hours at a time.

I can get up and jog around the apartment once in a while. But I think it may be possible that to 'come in from the cold,' I'll have to go outside.

This is the 'half-empty' bottle. The 'half-full' bottle is the hope that my teeth will be fixed by the end of the month; thus ending the 'starving' part.

I will not only be able to have hot meals, I will be able to have them in heated restaurants. I've been around Paris long enough to know not to ever take a table near any window or doorway. Some restaurants are only reluctantly heated and are full of breezes.

You've seen the old photos haven't you? Pictures of famous 'starving and freezing' artists sitting around in restaurants with their hats and coats on.

Apple's Tangerine, Lemonade, Transparent Aqua iBook

Apple Expo in Paris signals the annual buying spree for users because it is the only place in Paris where it is possiblephoto: apple expo ibook to find most of the local dealers. I think it is also the dealer's biggest sales opportunity, so they lower prices a bit because their competitors are only an aisle away instead of in some remote suburb.

Since getting the new camera, photos have been filling up my storage capacity at an alarming rate - so I was there to buy more, for less, if possible.

Apple's target age group inspecting the new iBook at Apple Expo.

Apple users are like a secret underground sect. At Paris-Expo, there were other salons - the arty FIAC - and exhibitions concerning the Internet and digital imaging, just to mention a couple. There were lots of people around, but I saw none carrying bags with Apple's logo.

So while I was going up to the third level of building seven, I was starting to think I'd find the floor empty. Not so - thousands had snuck in for their Apple party of the year. Many were actually looking at hardware and software demonstrations too.

I saw Apple's newest creation, the iBook, from a distance, but I did not touch one. It reminds me of an oyster for some reason. Maybe it contains pearls. If it is hard to open at least it has a carrying handle, so you can look snazzy while carrying it around. Does anybody care that the Macintosh has been around for 15 years now? The original one had a carrying handle too.

To All New Owners of 'Utrillo' Works

I am not now nor ever have been an expert forphoto: russian submarine, paris-expo evaluating the authenticity of alleged paintings or prints by Maurice Utrillo via email. If you find such a work, please take it to an art dealer.

Maurice Utrillo - one of Montmartre's favorite sons - produced a lot of original works during a lifelong career. Most of this is now in museums or in private collector's hands.

If the iBook does not catch on, Apple has a secret weapon ready.

There have been a rash of enquiries lately. This leads me to believe another warehouse full of fake Utrillo paintings and prints has been dumped on the market. Generally these are sold at about 50 francs retail, with the real value being added by the frame - which is, of course, optional.

Metropole's New Web Address Improves

This is the new URL for 'Metropole Paris:' Please 'bookmark' this new URL.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 3.38 - 21. September 1998 - The Café Metropole's subtitle was - 'Where Are My Beautiful Balloons?' 'Au Bistro' had 'Techno Parade 'Seduces' Paris' This issue had two features, entitled 'The Place de la Concorde - Place With Headroom' count down Eiffel Tower and 'No Magic at Apple Expo for Revisit No. 12.' There were four 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'Techno Jazz?'

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago:

Issue 2.38 - 22. September 1997 - The Café Metropole column was called - 'Autumn in Paris and Still Nice.' The Au Bistro column was entitled 'Details of Diana Crash Elude Bodyguard.' This issue had two features, entitled 'Apple Expo '97: Apple's Last Tango in Paris?' and 'The End of Heritage in Rochefort; Goodbye La Tourelle.' There were two 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'Apple Has 'Fire Sale''

The Tour Eiffel Countdown to 31. December 1999:

Only 103 more mostly cloudy, cool and occasionally stormy Paris and Ile-de-France autumn days to go until the really big year-end party is in full swing.
signature, regards, ric

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